Matt Damon on Being a ‘Raging Narcissist’ and ‘The Martian’ Scene That Made Him Cry

Matt Damon Ridley Scott
Rob Latour/REX Shutterstock

Though some might find it challenging to act in a film without a scene partner, Matt Damon joked that he enjoyed the experience on “The Martian” because “I’m a raging narcissist, so it was very natural.”

Damon was appearing with director Ridley Scott following a screening of the film at the Palm Springs International Film Festival as part of the fest’s “Talking Pictures” program on Saturday afternoon. The pair had to arrive straight from a delayed flight at the airport, but the packed audience didn’t seem to mind waiting a few extra minutes for the pair, who were greeted enthusiastically. The event was moderated by Variety’s Jenelle Riley.

“The Martian” marks the first collaboration between Damon and Scott — in fact, the pair had never met before Scott expressed an interest in the script, which the actor was already attached to. But the collaborators had nothing but high praise for one another, with Damon noting that Scott tends to employ the same crew over and over again because “they don’t want to miss an opportunity to work with him.”

Scott is a meticulous planner when directing, but also said that there are times when “things don’t go quite the way you planned and the emotion takes over, which I happen to think is beautiful.”

The pair discussed the climactic scene where Damon’s astronaut Mark Watney is sent back into space with the hope his crew will be able to intercept and receive him. Damon revealed that Scott “did a really tricky thing” when they shot the scene. “The rest of the cast had already wrapped and it was just Ridley and I,” said Damon. “He got the sound from their side of the scene and he piped it into my helmet, but didn’t tell me he was going to do it. So suddenly I heard the voices of my friends and it struck me I hadn’t heard another voice for years. I’d been communicating by email. these people were coming to save me, these people who had sacrificed a year of their lives for me. And I just wept. It wasn’t planned or forced, it was about him creating an environment. And it was the dream of an actor because you just have to show up and be relaxed.”

Scott said they used the first take, and only did two total. Which prompted Damon to quip, “We’re really lazy.”

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  1. Terry Hudson says:

    The Martian deserves an award and Matt Damon shows his wonderful talent once again. He should receive an award for this movie. I loved it. I was on the edge of my seat just hoping he gets home.

  2. Josrph says:

    That’s called “being in the moment” and something every good actor should aspire to. #respect

    • James says:

      Well has anyone considered competency. I have not seen all of the most popular movies. I can say i thought Will Smiths accent was bad. I was not convinced. I disagree that the oscar process is racist. You do good work until u get rewarded. As a player u just play.

  3. Jivez says:

    Best film of the year hands down! Both Ridley Scott & Damon deserve an Oscar! I wish at least they grab the Golden globes

  4. ObserverMI says:

    The only thing I hear when I think of Matt narcissist Damon….
    is ‘Team America World Police’….. “Matt Damon”

    Just Matt Damon playing Matt Damon.
    That’s not acting.
    Eddie Murphy has shown far more ability to be different than Matt ever has, or could by example.
    We should get real Actors…. not ‘Posers’ playing themselves.

    • Dunstan says:

      Observer, what on earth are you talking about? Unless you somehow know Matt Damon personally, you have no idea if he’s “playing Matt Damon.”

      As for Eddie Murphy, yes, he’s done some terrific work over the years but I hate to break it to you; he’s done many roles where he was doing the same thing over and over again.

      • kirads09 says:

        I think what you see in The Martian is Matt’s natural sense of humor coming through. Also evidenced in this interview. Doesn’t mean that Matt is “playing Matt Damon”. Have you ever seen The Talented Mr. Ripley? More than ANY of his other films I think that convinced me of his acting chops. Been the hugest fan ever since. He deserves all the accolades they want to bestow on him as far as I am concerned.

  5. Suzan says:

    He wouldn’t make the statement that he is a ‘Raging Narcissist’ if he knew what one was: A psychopath unable to feel the emotions of another as part of the Narcissist’s brain is dysfunctional. Perhaps he meant: Narcissism. Prays.

  6. Bren says:

    Great film and demanding performance, which he carries effortlessly.

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